The benefits of gardening have been well documented by many throughout the years. From its uncanny ability to soothe an over-active mind, to give idle hands something to do, there are quite a few positive aspects to having an active green thumb in a time when anxiety disorders and depression runs rampant.
Russell Page, British gardener, garden designer and landscape architect has said, “Green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.” Poetic? Yes, and to a countless number of people, perfectly accurate.
In world chock full of people who feel like their juggling one thousand and eighty-two tasks, all before taking a sip of their venti caramel macchiato Starbucks cappuccino, gardening is known to slow down the everyday rat race and give one time to reflect. For a lot of people the process of taking their lives down a notch or two is terrifying, paralyzing even, especially those with debilitating anxiety disorders.
Depending on how severe, anxiety disorders have the potential to really take a toll on many people’s lives and decision-making abilities. Sleep is one of the hardest things to even accomplish, but gardening has been shown to aid those in need of it.
According to Rodale.com, “The mental health benefits of gardening are so strong that a field of medicine called horticultural therapy has been developed to help people who have psychiatric disorders deal with their conditions. Studies of people with dementia and anxiety have found that gardening helps calm their agitation, leading to better sleep patterns and improved quality of their rest.”
Hannah Johnson, of notable women’s website XOjane.com (from founder Jane Pratt of 90s mag, Sassy and JANE) has said of her anxiety issues, “While I’m extremely grateful to have a job like this as a creative outlet, there’s a lot more swirling on around me that gives me the stressed-out heebie-jeebies. A day-to-day “regular” job that I despise, money issues, worrying about college, being disorganized, a constant feeling of being rushed, or like I’m running out of time, etc. etc. etc. Seeing as this has been a lifelong issue for me (and feels like it’s getting worse all the time) I’ve started to pick up coping mechanisms here and there. But it’s still not taking.”
What would most people advise Johnson to do? Run a hot bubble bath, go for a run, or try sweating it out in a pore quenching Bikrim yoga class. While these ideas all have the potential to bring peace and clarity to a mind riddled with analysis paralysis, they seem to overlook gardening, a timeless art that is known to ease the dark corners of a worried mind, however, those who embrace a green life find it pleasantly rewarding, unless you’re this guy, but there are exceptions for everything.